I don’t tend to write about travel blogging but, when I do, it usually results in a great discussion. Go figure.
I am aware that this is a travel blog (ergo, I should be writing solely about travel) but I am also aware that a large portion of my audience are budding travel bloggers so forgive me non-travel bloggers for this brief spiel.
Remember when you were younger and it was a cardinal sin to talk to anyone you didn’t know online because your new cyber BFF was always a sixty year old man sitting in his underpants and stroking his horrifically straggly beard? It was almost as if as soon as the internet came about, people felt like they were given the right to pretend to be someone else. It was easy. It was free. And, well, it was pretty scary.
Now, though, if you don’t make contacts online you’re unlikely to get anywhere in life (or so it seems). People share their lives on Facebook, they get witty on twitter, and they make a fuss on Google plus. It’s acceptable and, more importantly, it’s necessary – particularly for bloggers like us.
I hated twitter when I first signed up. I hated that I didn’t know anyone personally on it. Not to mention I didn’t know how to bloody use it. I’m a shy person ‘in real life’ and this doesn’t change when I’m armed with a mouse and a keyboard. I’m still worried that people will take what I type the wrong way and I’m hesitant to get involved in conversations for fear of people thinking I’m an absolutely ridiculous excuse for a human being.
But the travel blogging world soon sucked me in. It’s addictive, you know? Even if I wasn’t tweeting myself, I was scouring my feed seeing what everyone else was up to. (Read – seeing what people I HAD NEVER MET BEFORE were up to).
Before I went to my first conference I had built up people’s personas into something that probably wasn’t right but that suited me just fine. People can be who you want them to be online. But, once I could put faces to twitter handles or blog titles the bubble seemed to burst. Not in a bad way. I just realised that we are all human, flailing around trying to do this whole blogging malarkey.
It’s easy for the internet to provide a shield for some people; it bolsters their confidence and they feel like they can say whatever they want regardless of whether it hurts another person. It’s the same in the travel blogging community. I’m by no means (absolutely no way) a veteran in the field but I have seen my fair share of spats between members. It can be nasty, but maybe this is because people don’t know each other in person.
It’s easy to lash out when you’re hiding in the dark behind drawn curtains, cup of tea in hand. But when you’re actually face-to-face with someone it can be a hell of a lot harder and may even seem silly. People are just people; no one is better than anyone else and this is so, so, so evident when you meet the people behind the blogs.
So, what do I suggest? I suggest that you all come to Traverse 2013 in April, a new travel blogging conference with a difference where you can put faces to domain names and chat travel and blogging over a drink (or two, or three…)!
There will even be these super-cool Pro-Bar things (I know what you’re thinking – it’s got the word bar in so you’re totally there, right?) where you can meet blogging experts. Daunting? Maybe. But it’s a great opportunity to chat to some well-known people in the industry in a relaxed environment – I know you probably have millions of questions for them that they would love to answer.
There will be ample opportunity to ask questions during the workshops, but I am well aware that the thought can be terrifying (trust me, I’m a serial hand-keeper-downer even if I’m dying to know something) so we have set up a casual meet-and-greet type situation with the workshop leaders; any questions you didn’t (or couldn’t) get round to asking in the session can be asked on a one-to-one basis.
Coming? Good! Let’s burst this travel blogging bubble once and for all!